Practicing Banjo with Backup Band Music Tracks

Practicing and Playing Banjo with Backup Band Music Tracks

Here is some practical advice for practicing and playing your banjo along with CDs, backup bluegrass band tracks, software that slows down banjo music and other ways to simulate playing your banjo at home by practicing with a backup band.

  1. You can loop the track by hitting repeat on your CD player for continuous repetition and practice.
  2. Practice picking through the chord changes using the first position chords (chords within the first 4 frets) with at least a simple roll, then begin to mix up the rolls.
  3. Practice playing backup by fretting the four finger F, D, and Barre shape chords while playing along with the CD (using the thumb/pinch chop picking pattern indicated earlier in the book) You could start by simply strumming the chord till you get up to speed with switching chord positions. Gaining chord changing proficiency will take more than a week, but it really wont’ take that long if you keep working at it. Heck, people can fret a guitar, the banjo is much easier to play chords on.
  4. Also, try picking through the chord changes down and up the neck, while fretting only the top three strings of the chord, then just the top two strings of the chord. Note: when playing the top two strings, adjust your roll to only play the 5th, 2nd and 1st strings. This is how many up the neck leads are played, by fretting just the top two or top three strings of the chord. Learning to do this will be of great benefit to you.
    When you are practicing the tablature arrangement lead part, do your best to pick steady through the tune by not stopping when you lose your place or to correct mistakes. Practice falling back on playing a simple roll and holding the chord to keep the beat steady until you recover your mistake and find your place again.

Book and DVD Resources for Banjo by Ross Nickerson
Playing Banjo By Ear  Rhythm Backup Play Along  Video Surgeon  Banjo Jamming  How to Practice banjo Banjo Encyclopedia